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Name: Young, Jonathan
Current Position: Previous Chairman

Jonathan M. Young was appointed to the National Council on Disability as a board member and chairman by President Barack Obama in December 2009.

In 1986, Young broke his neck during a high school wrestling match and is partially paralyzed with a spinal cord injury.
Young earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, and his MA and PhD in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
From 1996-1998, he worked at the National Rehabilitation Hospital Center for Health and Disability Research, where he authored “Equality of Opportunity: The Making of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” a 1997 National Council on Disability publication that became the foundation for his 2002 dissertation on the disability rights movement.
This was to be a transformative experience for Young. As he later told a House committee, “I didn’t think of myself as part of a disability community. Disability was the enemy. I was embarrassed. I wanted to hide. I wanted to be perceived as normal as I could be….I had also gone through a bout of depression and was at the nadir of that period about the time that I was asked to write the history of the ADA. In fact, there was a time where I wasn’t even sure I would be able to hold a meaningful job.
“But in researching the ADA…my own internalized stigma about disability ran headlong into the extraordinary stories of power and strength, of pride of people with disabilities, and the extraordinary, collaborative, bipartisan, intense effort to pass the ADA. In retrospect, when I penned the closing line of ‘‘Equality of Opportunity: The Dawn of a New Day,’’ it was as much about my own personal experience in becoming and identifying as a person with a disability and becoming a part of a community. Disability became a source of liberation, rather than stigma. My life gained new purpose and meaning.”
Before attending Yale Law School, he was associate director for public liaison in the Executive Office of the President (1998-2001), where he led several disability policy initiatives, including the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, provided counsel on disability policy, delivered numerous keynote addresses on behalf of the White House, and founded Disability Mentoring Day.
Currently, Young is senior counsel at FoxKiser, a law firm specializing in law, science and medicine. He is also co-founder and vice chair of the Committee on Disability Power & Pride.
Biography (National Council on Disability)
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